How do/did people pick their favorite member? When the band came out and became popular, I’m willing to bet that most people decided based on the band member’s looks. They might have also considered their style, their musical role in the band, their “personality” via videos or interviews. I can imagine that many Simon fans appreciated his voice and lyrics. Perhaps, they like his outgoing personality both on stage and in interviews. John fans, I’m sure, were attracted to his good looks. Many Nick fans probably appreciated his colorful looks and sense of style and fashion. Andy fans might have liked his rock persona and Roger fans admired his quietness. Does one’s personal favorite reflect on his/her’s own personality? What if the fan changed his/her favorite over the course of the years? Does that reflect changes with the band or changes with that fan or both?
I should admit that I do have a favorite. I will also admit that I started out having a different favorite but that only lasted a short while. When I was a kid and first heard and saw Duran Duran, I initially considered Simon my favorite. Why? I suppose a lot of it had to do with the fact that he was the “voice” of the band and seemed to be at the center of attention. Let’s face it. He also looked pretty good in 1984. Then, I saw the Reflex video and John Taylor. Well, I immediately switched my favorite to John, which remains the same to this day. See, it was a short while! So, what attracted me to John? Obviously, I thought he was “cute”! I liked his personal style and didn’t seem as out there as Nick to my very young self. It also helped that my best friend, at the time, also liked John. Thus, when a new video or magazine came out, we would look at it and scream over John Taylor together! We encouraged each other. Of course, I didn’t really know much about John or any of them at that time beyond what was published in Bop magazine. I memorized it all and could recite facts quickly. The things I learned about John seemed so cool and I wanted to think those things were cool, too. How many John girls watched James Bond movies because of him? I bet a lot. I’m sure that Simon, Nick, Roger and Andy fans had similar experiences.
Fast forward to the reunion. My favorite remained the same. Other fans’ favorites changed. Why? It seemed to me that when the reunion happened, most fans initially went back to the childhood favorite. Most message boards seemed to encourage this. For example, over on DDM, John fans got to know other John fans and Nick fans met other Nick fans through the section of the board designated for that particular band member. Like my experiences as a child, these sections were filled with pictures of the band member of choice and there was much screaming following posted pictures! It also seemed that we all started learning a little bit more about the guys. Of course, even now, we don’t know them. We might have some guesses about how they are from their interviews, from meeting them if so lucky, from listening to the music and lyrics for so long, but we don’t really know them.. Nonetheless, it does feel to me that I know different kinds of things about John than I did when I was a kid. Obviously, I know that he supported Obama in the US Presidential Election of 2008 and didn’t have a clue what his political opinions were in the 1980s. I know that Simon does not consider himself to be a Christian now and didn’t have a clue then. For some people, the new knowledge makes us appreciate the band member of choice but, for others, it might turn them off.
Can new information about a band member change someone’s favorite? I suppose it can. I feel like some people’s favorite has changed due to their interactions or lack of interactions with fans. For example, I absolutely felt Roger’s popularity increase once fans realized that he was out and about with the fans after shows. Where did these fans come from? I am willing to bet that many of them were John fans first. If interacting with fans matters, then it would make sense that John might lose fans because he isn’t so social after shows (personally I think that is the right move for him). What if someone had a bad meet and greet experience with a band member? Could that cause a change in favorites? I think so. I have seen it. I have seen people warm up to Nick, for example, because he is always so friendly with the fans and I have seen people turned off by Simon’s can-be-perceived-as-a-diva-like-attitude in public. What if people change their favorite simply because of how the band member has aged? I suppose it is possible, even if I don’t like it. Obviously, I admit that looks had/has something to do with it but I wish it didn’t have EVERYTHING to do with it. That feels too much like objectification, to me.
It also seems to me that is possible not to have a favorite. Maybe you like and appreciate them all equally. Maybe you really are focused on the music. I can admire that. Will favorites always be a part of the Duran Duran fandom? So far, as long as Duran Duran has existed, there have been favorites and I’m willing to bet that there always will be!